As long-time readers know, I work as a Quality Assurance Inspector at the Young Human Factory. It’s both a demanding job and a wonderful vocation. Oddly enough, as the level of challenges have increased, so has my job satisfaction.
But like the rest of the Republic, my corner of the country is under financial stress. We Factory workers have endured a pay freeze for several years, a pay cut this past year, and now we await lay-offs.
Monday the fourth is Doomsday. (Yes, today.)
Knowing lay-offs were coming added a strange vibe to the year. I took fewer things for granted, like my co-workers’ good humor and drama-free meetings. I’d look around and think, “This will disappear; enjoy it now.”
Seniority no longer matters (now that I have some, natch). Instead, qualifications and evaluations set the standard.
My tension eased a bit as the year went on. Although two colleagues share my qualifications, I specialize in the international program that has helped many of our customers place their beloved products at universities – often free of charge! In addition, I’ve gotten good evaluations and I’ve had excellent reviews in Customer Service and Quality Assurance.
Then Fortuna, that cruel hag, laughed.
The new Boss and his new Big Boss expected just a handful of pick slips, but the projected number was low. Now whispers circulate that even with the lay-offs, surviving workers will be asked to take another pay cut.
Today the axe will fall.
The ceremonial Lawyer – more a rumor than a man – will be carried into the Boss’s office and set up to oversee the Propriety of the Thing. The Boss will wander the halls, striking terror and striking up conversations. Some conversations will end with the dreaded, “Could I speak with you a moment in my
chamber of doom office?”
I know the Big Boss will also be in the building today, but I refuse to think about it. On days like this, thinking only draws attention to yourself. And I would never consider saying his name three times in front of a mirror. *shudder*
I remain optimistic by sheer will, which includes a dreadful feeling of “I hope they eat me last.” I try not to dwell on the fate of my colleagues. Although the possibility that She Who Doesn’t Do Meetings And Oh My Gherd What You Peons Created In My Absence Is Soooo Wrong will keep her job while La Señora All-For-The-Good-of-the-Children gets laid off….
No, I mustn’t dwell on that idea. As my wise progenitors say, “No use borrowing trouble.”
I have mere hours to prepare my “game face” (figuratively speaking, since I can’t borrow a hockey mask on short notice). I’ve never faced a lay-off before. Sure, one of my previous employers shut the doors without warning, but that was a nonprofit. “Nonprofit” as in “The leader is doing this out of her great love for humanity, which is why she gets the last big check. Don’t whine. What do you think this is, a charity?”
But I digress. I must plan for the nearly-now.
Should I run if anyone wearing a suit approaches me? No, that’s crazy talk. Everyone knows that Management has troops of capuchin monkeys with blow-darts and nets to handle rogue workers.
I’ll just have to go on as usual, but carrying a box of tissues just in case my “game face” leaks.